I was adopted when I was 10, before that I was in foster care. Neither of those things have been particularly easy. While it wasn’t easy, it has made me who I am today, which I’m grateful for. Throughout this entire process, a lot of things have happened that have ended up to be very significant in my life.
When I was first put into foster care, I didn’t know how to feel. I didn’t really understand it, so I was mostly scared. It seemed like everyone else around me knew what was going on, except me.
I ended up being separated from my two older brothers, which made things a lot worse. I wasn’t going to have anyone I knew around, and I didn’t think I could handle that.
My first foster home was a nightmare. I was thrown into a home with people who were nothing like me. They didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them. They sure didn’t go out of their way to make me feel at home. It was like an awkward visit to someone else’s house, but it wasn’t a visit. At least, it wasn’t supposed to be. I only stayed there for a week.
When people found out that I was in foster care, they had a lot of questions. I didn’t have answers to a lot of their questions, so I tried to avoid them. I understood the curiosity, but I didn’t much like talking about it at the time.
After my first disaster of a placement, I moved somewhere else. I loved my new home. I had a single foster mother named Joann. She was really great for me and helped me understand more things about my situation. Her home was temporary though, I stayed for about a year and a half until someone was interested in adopting me and my brothers.
My mom’s first cousin, a man named Steve, and his wife, Amy, showed interest in taking me and my brothers in, to adopt us. Obviously I was excited about this, but it meant even more changes. This time, I was practically moving across the country, from Florida to Pennsylvania.
Through all of this, I had grown used to being the new kid at school, and pretty much everywhere else. Being the new kid is only fun if you like attention. And even then, people will eventually get bored of you and leave you alone. To me, being left alone was a relief. Other students at school are really nosey and there isn’t anything they won’t ask you, especially stuff you would prefer not to talk about.
Amy and Steve already had a daughter, Rachel. Having a new sibling was a lot of fun but a lot to get used to. We didn’t have much in common and we butted heads a lot, but we made it work. We did share a room so we kind of had to.
Being raised by someone who didn’t meet you until you were eight is far from easy. Every family is different and combining two very different families caused a lot of chaos. My brothers were even older than I was. When we moved in with Amy and Steve in Pennsylvania, my brothers were ten and thirteen.
My oldest brother had the most difficulty with our new home. He ended up having a lot of behavior problems. His behavior problems just put more attention from others put on our family, but not in a good way. It created a topic for even more questions.
Now, I love answering questions about my experiences, but it most definitely hasn’t always been that easy. I spent a lot of my time growing up being ashamed of all the things that were going on around me. I didn’t want to talk about a lot of things, but a lot of people loved asking all about them. I’ve been asked a lof of stupid questions, and a lot of insensitive questions. I’ve been asked if my parents love me way more than one time.
Another significant event that happened during this whole process was my last name changing. In order for me to stay associated with my biological family but also be associated with my adoptive family, my last name was hyphenated. Originally, my last name was Buckley, and now it is Buckley-Uzmed. This was obviously new for me and a strange thing. It took awhile to completely grasp that my name was different. I messed up when I wrote my name on the top of my papers for school, and I would often forget it changed when people asked me what my last name was. Along with it being a new thing for me, it was a new thing for everyone else. This is another thing that caused people to ask questions. Obviously someone’s name changing would make someone curious. This is still something that I get asked on a regular basis.
I think my big problem with being asked questions was constantly being reminded of everything. Not only did I not want to talk about it, but I also didn’t really want to think about it. It’s kind of hard to forget when it seems like that’s all anyone wants to talk to you about though. I used to always wish that no one knew about any of it so that no one would ask about any of it.
Although being adopted had a lot of difficulties, a lot of it has been great and has given me amazing opportunities. I got to join a whole new family of aunts, uncles, and cousins, which has been amazing. I’ve also gotten to experience something that a lot of people never will. Through that experience I’ve also learned quite a lot of things that I’m grateful to know. It’s changed my perspective on a lot of things as well. It has made me passionate about wanting to help others and about not wanting anyone to feel like they’re alone. I felt like I was alone a lot of the time in foster care and when first being adopted. Truly, I never was but I felt like it. And because I felt like that, and know what it feels like, I never want someone else to feel like that. It has also made me passionate about humor. To a lot of people, that may seem like an odd thing to be passionate about, but for me, laughter has been very therapeutic through tough times. Sometimes a distraction from everything going on can be beneficial and a great distraction can be laughter. Because humor and laughter has helped me a lot, something that I love doing is making other people laugh.
When people make themselves vulnerable and talk about things that upset them or things that have happened to them, I feel less alone. It makes it clear that everyone has their own struggles. Because of this, I have grown to love talking about my experience with being in foster care and being adopted. I was always ashamed and embarrassed but there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of.
I’m glad that I was adopted and I’m glad that I was in foster care. I am glad that I went through all the struggles that brought. I used to always see myself as a victim, like everything was happening to me. When I decided to stop doing that, I realized how much I benefited from everything that went on in my life. It made me who I am and I wouldn’t change any of it. Everything that has happened in my life has happened for a reason and deciding to come to terms with that is the best decision I have ever made.
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